"The Malleus Maleficarum" is the Latin title of "demonology tractate, describing proper methods in witch-hunt" (1486), called in English "Hammer Of The Witches", which became a basic concept of the British extreme metal band Cradle of Filth's eleventh full-length album. Formidable, however, unpredictable record release took place on July 10 via Nuclear Blast.
The group's fans have been impatiently waiting for the new long-play since 2012 and after two years break the rockers start working on the new album in November 2014. The covert tradition of changing band's musicians remained in force and by the end of the year the frontman Dani Filth commented the upcoming release for the first time:
"At the moment our band has a new lineup, that's why everything should go in a right way and we are looking forward to seeing our old fans. Recording the album, we try to create a harmony between two guitars that will make music faster and more melodic."
It should be noticed, that new sounding, which tends to change from album to album, create an impressive atmosphere in "Hammer Of The Witches". The listener can enjoy gorgeous connection of two heavy guitars, sinister riffs and tuneful gloomy passages, supported by Dani Filth's unique vocals. On the 14-th of May, Cradle of Filth presented the new single and the official video for symphonic metal composition "Right Wing Of The Garden Triptych", which later became one of the most inspiring songs of the new long-play. Such fabulous introduction finally dispelled all discussions and gossips that the band has allegedly come to the end.
"Hammer Of The Witches" tracklist consists of eleven songs, while deluxe version includes two bonus-tracks:
- Walpurgis Eve
- Yours Immortally...
- Enshrined in Crematoria
- Deflowering the Maidenhead, Displeasuring the Goddess
- Blackest Magick in Practice
- The Monstrous Sabbat (Summoning the Coven)
- Hammer of the Witches
- Right Wing of the Garden Triptych
- The Vampyre at My Side
- Onward Christian Soldiers
- Blooding the Hounds of Hell
- King of the Woods
"Hammer Of The Witches" opens with "Walpurgis Eve" — pure, symphonic and peculiar track, lasting only minute and a half. An atmosphere of pressurization, selection of horrible sounds and gloomy violin make you feel and imagine the scene of "Walpurgis Night". Such delicious beginning, like a trademark of the band, takes the listener to the new dark chapter of Cradle of Filth's great conceptual collection. While you are listening to pure melodiousness of the first track, a berserk and wild rhythm of "Yours Immortally..." breaks into your mind and makes you feel in an absolutely opposite way. At these parts, we hear plenty of drums, strong keyboard rhythms, and the hard guitars unison, mentioned by Filth in his interview.
Each subsequent album's track is a next story, devoted to ominous tractate's theme and demonic events of XV century. Three "headliners" of CD are "Deflowering The Maidenhead", "Displeasuring The Godless", "Blackest Magick In Practice" and the previously mentioned "Right Wing Of The Garden Triptych". Their main feature is a fullness of abundant and harmonious sounding of many instruments, as relevant perceptive female vocals of Lindsay Schoolcraft and, of course, a powerful component of the riffs in every song.
Certainly, while listening to the album, we can notice some dead-level of the rhythm, jumping from speed to melodious riffs and very similar accompaniment of main tunes with keyboard instruments. In some ways, the monotonous vocals can be also criticized. In this case, wasn't the pure lyrical vocals worth to be used in the record? However, do not forget, that despite constant changing of style and sounding, the band follows to the symphonic metal genre, which is liked by millions of Cradle of Filth's fans worldwide.
Professional, strong and saturated arrangement becomes the basis of Cradle of Filth's new album and new sounding, that has been changing throughout the band's discography.
For the umpteenth time, the listeners have an opportunity to estimate the group aspiration to improvement and searching of new ideas. In summary, "Hammer Of The Witches" honorably takes its 11 rank in the list of the British extreme-metallers' releases.
By Yuri Somov